Sun Oct 20 4:28pm ET
By JOHN WAWROW
AP Sports Writer
Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen, right, celebrates his touchdown pass to wide receiver John Brown, left, in the second half of an NFL football game Miami Dolphins, Sunday, Oct. 20, 2019, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)
Buffalo Bills wide receiver Cole Beasley, right, celebrates his touchdown catch with Duke Williams in the second half of an NFL football game Miami Dolphins, Sunday, Oct. 20, 2019, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus)
Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen, right, celebrates with guard Jon Feliciano after throwing a touchdown pass to Cole Beasley in the second half of an NFL football game against the Miami Dolphins, Sunday, Oct. 20, 2019, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)
Buffalo Bills wide receiver John Brown celebrates his touchdown catch against the Miami Dolphins in the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 20, 2019, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)
Miami Dolphins linebacker Raekwon McMillan, left, and defensive back Ken Webster, below, tackle Buffalo Bills running back Devin Singletary, center, in the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 20, 2019, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus)
Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick celebrates his touchdown pass to DeVante Parker in the first half of an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills, Sunday, Oct. 20, 2019, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) Tre'Davious White forced two second-half turnovers, Micah Hyde returned an onside kick for a touchdown, and the Buffalo Bills rallied from a five-point deficit for a 31-21 victory over the winless Miami Dolphins on Sunday.
The Bills, who began the day favored by 17 points, avoided what would have been a major upset against a patchwork Dolphins opponent in a major rebuilding mode.
Josh Allen led fourth-quarter touchdown drives following each of the Dolphins turnovers, and the Bills improved to 5-1 in matching their best start to a season in 11 years.
White's diving interception at the 2 of Ryan Fitzpatrick's pass on second-and-goal from the 12 led to Buffalo going ahead 17-14 on John Brown's 20-yard touchdown catch that capped a 12-play, 98-yard drive.
Two series later, White punched the ball out of the hands of rookie Preston Williams near the Miami 30, and the fumble was recovered by defensive end Jerry Hughes. Three plays later, Allen hit a wide-open Cole Beasley for a 3-yard touchdown.
The outcome wasn't decided until 1:38 remaining, and after Fitzpatrick scored on an 11-yard touchdown run to cut Buffalo's lead to 24-21.
Dolphins kicker Jason Sanders' onside kick attempt to the right bounced directly into a leaping Hyde's arms. He stayed on his feet and returned it untouched to seal the victory.
Fitzpatrick provided the Dolphins a spark - and their first lead beyond the first quarter of the season - by engineering consecutive 75-yard touchdown drives.
Kalen Ballage put Miami up 7-6 by scoring on a 3-yard run on the first snap of the second quarter. And then Fitzpatrick hit DeVante Parker for a 12-yard touchdown catch with 5:51 remaining in the half.
The Dolphins entered the game having led only once in a game, and never past the end of the first quarter this season.
But the ''FitzMagic'' ran out in the second half against one of his seven former teams.
He finished 23 of 35 for 282 yards to end Buffalo's streak of 13 games of not allowing 250 yards passing.
Buffalo overcame a sloppy first half in which the team appeared as if it was still knocking off the rust in coming off its bye week. The Allen-led offense settled for three field goals on its first three drives.
White's interception came two plays after the Dolphins successfully ran a fake field goal on fourth-and-1 from the Buffalo 4. Holder Matt Haack caught the snap and then scampered for a 2-yard gain.
The Bills defense finally responded on the next play with former Dolphins defensive tackle Jordan Phillips crashing over the line and sacking Fitzpatrick for a 10-yard loss.
Dolphins defensive tackle Christian Wilkins was ejected for throwing a punch at Buffalo Bills tackle Cody Ford on the second snap from scrimmage.
Wilkins was penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct for throwing the punch away from the play and after Allen threw an incompletion.
Tight end Tyler Kroft was not targeted in making his long-awaited Bills debut after being sidelined by several injuries since signing with Buffalo in free agency in March. Kroft missed the entire offseason after breaking his right foot in his first practice. He then missed the past three games after hurting his left ankle in practice.
Dolphins: Prime-time game at Pittsburgh Oct. 28.
Bills: Host Philadelphia Eagles on Oct. 27.
Cleveland Browns general manager Andrew Berry, who was vice president of player personnel in 2017 when the team drafted tight end David Njoku in the first round, envisions a role for Njoku moving forward despite his down season in 2019. Berry implied that the team will pick up the fifth-year options on both Njoku and defensive end Myles Garrett, the first overall pick of 2017. Njoku, 23, played 16 games each in his first two seasons and had a career year in 2018 with 56 catches, 639 yards and four touchdowns. He was held to just five catches for 41 yards and a score in four games in 2019 due to injury and headbutting with former head coach Freddie Kitchens. You can get Njoku on the cheap as a TE2 with upside in 2020 drafts.
San Francisco 49ers left tackle Joe Staley (leg) is expected to return for the final year of his contract in 2020 after there was speculation that he would retire from the game after a Super Bowl run in 2019. The 13-year veteran missed nine games last season due to a broken leg, but he was solid as quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo's blind-side protector when he was on the field. Staley allowed just seven QB pressures in 240 pass-blocking snaps last year for a pressure rate of 2.9 percent, which trailed just Ronnie Stanley and Taylor Lewan among left tackles, according to Pro Football Focus. Staley's return would be great news for Jimmy G.
San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan said that he wants wide receiver Dante Pettis to go on an offseason "mission" after taking a huge step back in his second season in 2019. After catching 27 passes for 467 yards and five touchdowns in 12 games in his rookie season, Pettis had just 11 grabs for 109 yards and two scores in 11 games in 2019 and was in Shanahan's dog house for the majority of the season for multiple reasons. But with Emmanuel Sanders a free agent and the Niners looking for someone to step up behind Deebo Samuel, Pettis could get another chance this spring and summer to prove he belongs. Still, it'll take a lot of convincing for fantasy owners to invest in Pettis off the waiver wire to begin the year.
Los Angeles Rams general manager Les Snead said that there is "no timeline" on a long-term contract extension for cornerback Jalen Ramsey. The Rams acquired Ramsey from the Jaguars in the middle of last season for two first-round picks. The 25-year-old played in just 12 total games last year (nine with the Rams), and he had 33 tackles (31 solo), one forced fumble and an interception in his time in Los Angeles. The former fifth overall pick in the 2016 draft has made three straight Pro Bowls and was a first-team All-Pro back in 2017 when Jacksonville made an AFC Championship appearance. Ramsey will be expensive, but he'd be a huge asset for the Rams secondary for years to come if he sticks around.
Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll thinks highly of tight end Jacob Hollister and the team wants to bring him back as a restricted free agent. Will Dissly is coming off a torn Achilles last year and has two major lower-body injuries in the last two seasons, but the Seahawks also recently signed veteran Greg Olsen at the position. There's no guarantee that either of Olsen or Dissly will stay healthy for a full season, though, so perhaps Seattle wants to keep Hollister around for depth. The 26-year-old had a career-high 41 catches for 349 yards and three touchdowns in 11 games in 2019. He might have some low-end TE1 fantasy appeal if he were to land with another team as their starter.
Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone and general manager David Caldwell said that the team will let quarterbacks Gardner Minshew and Nick Foles compete for the starting job in 2020. Joshua Dobbs will also be a part of the competition, which will begin as soon as organized team activities kick off this spring. Marrone suggested that the Jaguars won't select their starter until the preseason. Caldwell may have a soft spot for Minshew, but the Jags also signed Foles to a four-year, $88 million deal ($45 million in guarantees) in March of last year. Foles broke his collarbone in Week 1 and was benched upon his return. Minshew, a rookie in 2019, showed flashes but was mostly a game manager in this run-first offense. Whoever is under center to start next season will be a middling QB2 option.
Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said that he expects running back Rashaad Penny (knee) to begin training camp on the Physically Unable to Perform list. Penny needed reconstructive knee surgery after injuring himself in early December against the Rams. If he were to start the season on the PUP, Penny would have to sit out the first six games. The former first-round pick started riding a stationary bike on Feb. 12, but he has a long ways to go in his rehab. With the oft-injured C.J. Prosise hitting free agency, Travis Homer could be the direct backup to Chris Carson to open the 2020 season if Penny isn't ready to go.
Houston Texans head coach Bill O'Brien said that he will hand play-calling duties over to offensive coordinator Tim Kelly in 2020. O'Brien had been calling the offensive plays in Houston since he took over from former offensive coordinator George Godsey in 2016. Kelly will be in his second season as the OC and has worked with O'Brien since he was a graduate assistant at Penn State. The Texans finished 13th in the NFL in 2019 in yards per game (362). Kelly will also work closely with quarterback Deshaun Watson, and this news could actually raise the ceiling of Houston's entire offense next year. "Deshaun and [Kelly] have a great relationship," O'Brien said. "... Deshaun has great trust in Timmy and the work that Timmy puts in, what Tim brings to the meeting room and on the field. Tim is an excellent coach."
Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said that running back Chris Carson (hip) is making progress but can't do much yet in his rehab. However, the Seahawks expect Carson to be ready for the 2020 season. The 25-year-old missed just one game in 2019 and handled 278 carries for 1,230 yards and seven rushing touchdowns for Seattle in his third year in the league. It was Carson's second straight 1,000-yard rushing season, and he also added a career-high 37 receptions for 266 yards and two scores through the air. He has yet to play in a full season but has missed just three games in the last two seasons. With Rashaad Penny (knee) doubtful to be ready for Week 1, Carson should handle the bulk of the load heading into the regular season and will be a strong RB1 in this run-first offense if he's fully healthy.
New York Jets general manager Joe Douglas said he wants to keep safety Jamal Adams "a long time." "Jamal is an unbelievable player. We're excited about Jamal. The plan is for Jamal to be a Jet for life," Douglas said of his now fourth-year playmaker and two-time Pro Bowler in the deep middle of his defense. The Jets have had extension talks with Adams, but he's also under team control for another two years, which means the Jets don't have to rush into anything. As one of the top safeties in the league already, Adams will surely be trying to become the league's highest-paid safety when the time comes. He'll be one of the more attractive safeties in IDP leagues in 2020 and beyond.
The Carolina Panthers declined the fully guaranteed $1 million option for wide receiver Jarius Wright on Tuesday, according to a source. With the move, the Panthers will free up $3 million in salary cap space. Wright had just 28 receptions for 296 yards and no touchdowns in a full season in his second and final year in Carolina. It didn't help that quarterback Cam Newton (foot) played in just two games, but Wright probably wouldn't have contributed all that much in the passing game to begin with. Wherever he lands next, Wright will be receiver depth and contribute on special teams.
Cleveland Browns TE David Njoku is likely to have his fifth-year option picked up, according to Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal.
Fantasy Spin: Njoku had a down year in 2019, as he didn't seem to gel with former head coach Freddie Kitchens. He finished the season with just 41 yards a touchdown in four games played. A first-rounder in 2017, there's still plenty of hope for his future.
Impending free-agent DE Jadeveon Clowney will be a target of the Seattle Seahawks for a new deal, according to head coach Pete Carroll Tuesday, Feb. 25. 'We are going to try,' Carroll said. 'We are trying to get it done. He had a fantastic season. We'd love to have him back.'
New York Jets RB Le'Veon Bell will remain a part of the team in 2020, according to general manager Joe Douglas Tuesday, Feb. 25. 'There hasn't been talk as far as him going anywhere,' Douglas said. 'We're excited about Le'Veon. Le'Veon has been a great teammate. I can't tell you how great he's been. ... We're excited to have him.'
Fantasy Spin: Bell rushed for just 789 yards and three touchdowns in his first season with the Jets while adding another 461 yards and a touchdown as a receiver. He has dropped into the RB2 tier for 2020 and will need to reprove himself within the Jets offense.
Indianapolis Colts QB Jacoby Brissett needs to be seen in a larger sample of work, according to general manager Chris Ballard Tuesday, Feb. 25. 'We did a 2-year deal with Jacoby to find out,' Ballard said at a press conference from the Scouting Combine. 'We like Jacoby Brissett. Love what he stands for. It was almost a tale of two seasons where we're 5-2, he's playing good football. He had the injury and we had injuries as a team and we kind of slid down. We did the short term deal to see what we had. To say we're going to create competition, we're going to create competition at any spot. That's going to be a year-to-year thing.'
Fantasy Spin: Brissett threw for 2,942 yards with 18 touchdowns and just six interceptions last season, but he was able to lead the Colts to a record of just 7-8 in his 15 starts. It's clear he needs more help in the passing game than he had in 2019, and he should be able to be a serviceable QB2 in fantasy leagues if Indy makes some additions this offseason.
Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton (foot) hasn't yet played to the best of his abilities, according to new head coach Matt Rhule Tuesday, Feb. 25. 'I'm really excited to coach Cam Newton,' Rhule said. 'Just getting to know him, being around him, seeing the way he's rehabbing, taking this seriously. I think if he does this right and we do this right, his best football is ahead of him.'
Fantasy Spin: It's a bold claim for the former Offensive Rookie of the Year and MVP, but he should certainly be able to bounce back from his more recent decent years. If Newton does in fact stay in Carolina, he'll be a low-end QB1 at draft time.
Impending free-agent DL Jarran Reed is wanted back for the 2020 season, according to Seattle Seahawks general manager John Schneider Tuesday, Feb. 25.
Impending free-agent RB Marshawn Lynch hasn't shared his plans for the 2020 season, according to Seattle Seahawks general manager John Schneider Tuesday, Feb. 25.
Fantasy Spin: Lynch won't warrant fantasy consideration if he does return to the Seahawks. He'll be behind both Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny when both are healthy and won't receive reliable work.
Impending free-agent RB Kenyan Drake is wanted back by the team, according to head coach Kliff Kingsbury and general manager Steve Keim Tuesday, Feb. 25. 'We'd love to have him back, he's a perfect fit for our offense,' Kingsbury said. 'He's certainly a guy we would like to have back but again not sure what the market is going to do,' said Keim.
Fantasy Spin: Drake rushed for 643 yards and eight touchdowns over eight games with the Cardinals after being acquired from the Miami Dolphins. He dethroned David Johnson and Chase Edmonds in the backfield, and he'll be a top-end RB2 wherever he plays in 2020.
Arizona Cardinals RB David Johnson is still valued by the team, according to general manager Steve Keim Tuesday, Feb. 25. 'He's a guy who's shown he can do it,' Keim said. 'I think because of the success that Kenyan (Drake) had, because of the success Chase (Edmonds) had, I think that's something that will be a chip on his shoulder. He's going to want to come back and play well and again because of his skillset, he's such a big talented athlete, we certainly think he can jump back in and do some good things for us.'
Fantasy Spin: Johnson has struggled the last three seasons since his All-Pro 2016 campaign while battling various injuries. He lost work to Kenyan Drake at the end of last season and he's a wild card until it's known how the Cardinals' backfield depth chart will stack up.